Friday, March 23, 2007

Ten Things I've been thinking about lately...

10. I realize Maurice has more hockey knowledge in just one of those deep dark circles under his eyes than I will ever hope to acquire no matter how much hockey I watch, but as the Leafs game went up like a four alarm blaze in Tonawanda, why didn't Maurice call a time-out or swap out Raycroft? Anything to stop the bleeding. Instead, wave after wave of Sabres came at them, the Leafs got gut-punch crushed and Raycroft will have to be back between the pipes in 20 or so hours (watch that glove-hand Andy, it's a bitch).

9. I'm a little confused - the Leafs were supposed to be life and death to make the playoffs. The experts said it; the coach said it; many fans said it and the GM may have even said it. So what's with the injury story angle? If the Leafs were healthy, are we to believe they'd be protecting these leads, winning in shoot-outs, not choking? Only Peca's hurt at the moment and this team still looks like a 10 spot club or worse...

8. When discussing the Perrault deal, why do so many fans think Bell would have been lost to waivers? At the Trade deadline, the Leafs had the flexibility to acquire one player without having to pass anyone through waivers. Once the trade deadline passes, there is no roster limit (CBA 16.4a). If Bell was going to be lost to waivers (and there's no knowing if this is true or not) the earliest he would have been lost is October 2007. Seven months after the trade deadline. FWIW, Bell has more points since the trade than Perrault, although he's getting about twice the ice-time of Perrault (and what's up with #94 logging 6 to 10 minutes/game?)

7. It seems common knowledge that Ferguson will be fired if the Leafs miss the playoffs again this year (here, here, hell - everywhere) but I've never found a source for this. Does any one have a citation on this? A quote from Peddie, Tannenbaum or anyone at MLSE? I have a bad feeling Ferguson has at least another year left in him. I guess MLSE wants at least one more trade deadline to pass so they can sit on their hands.

6. The polarizing effect of Raycroft. He's not as good as the wins total crowd would have you believe (check out his total losses, his win percentage and the shoot-out wins compared to Eddie and Cujo) and on the other hand he's not as dreadful as some of the stats might suggest (his ES SV% is solid; his PK SV% is lower than a Sens fan's self-esteem each June.) Would he be such a divisive figure if he wasn't a JFJ acquisition and if the price paid for him wasn't so high?

5. If the Refs really had a bias against the Leafs, wouldn't they be the most penalized team in the league, not the 7th most. Sometimes refs (Hello Kerry Fraser!) are just the suck, no matter what colour jersey the teams happen to be wearing. And how on earth did Cola get away with that trip in the Jersey game if the zebras have it in for the Blue and White?

4. I always presumed the Leafs were bottom of the barrel at the shoot-out because of their shooters. Surprisingly, the shooters are decidedly average - ranked 16th overall - scoring at just a fraction less than the league average (a 0.8% difference). Raycroft's sv% on the shoot-out, on the other hand, is dipping towards the Caps' win percentage...

3. Why do fans bring up dumb things Leafs may have done when discussing the current rash of meat head plays in the NHL? What do any of Domi's past transgressions (Samuelson, Niedermayer, Arvedson, marital infidelity) have to do with what I might think of as appropriate discipline for Neil, Janssen, Simon and Tootoo?

2. What does this team really need in the off-season? Let me clarify that, what minor tinkering will MLSE undertake as part of their master plan? It's clear they can generate sufficient offence off the back-end (and there's such little flex with those contracts it seems the top 6 spots are locked down) but the club can't keep the puck out of their own net. Maybe a solid back-up goalie, someone that can eat PK minutes and a new special teams coach behind the bench to take a fresh approach to a moribund pk.

1. How many "must win" games can a team lose before the term must-win has no currency? Seems to me, the Leafs have lost three of the last four must-win games, which of course means Saturday night's match-up against the Sabres at the ACC is a must-win game.


  1. Anonymous2:32 am

    After blowing tonights 4-1 lead in the third there is so much to be said. There are a lot of problems facing the orginization today and it seems the directon of this franchise keeps on going backwards. First of all Fergoson has to go. He has done nothing right for this team. Aquiring Raycroft fot Tukko Rask and a another prospect is the higtest of stupidity and tonight shows how pathetic raycroft is. I will shy away from talking about Raycroft because he is simply too easy of a target. In the offseason Roberto Luongo was on the trade block but obviously Ferguson doesnt have the knowladge to go and get him instead we acquire raycroft and paurrault. In total for both of them we gave up a star goalie prospect, Brendan Bell, a solid offensive defencman with a good future, a second round pick and as well as micheal telkvist. If we throw in a darcy tucker or someone with these prospects wouldnt the florida panthers trade luongo to us. Ferguson has no GM skills and this is just one of the many examples of how pathetic he is. Now onto Maurice, good guy but a bad bench boss. I just dont understand why Matt Stajan gets so much ice time. He gets on average 16 minites per game. THATS SUNDINS MINITES. What is maurice thinking. Stajan at best is a good fourth line player. Sure he had a good game tonight but averaging 16 minites a night your bound to have one good game out of twenty. I just dont understand why he gets so much ice time. This is just an example of one of Maurices flaws in coaching. This franchise needs serious personal readjustments and needs to start to think about the future becuase it is clear ( tonight being a perfect example) the present isnt so bright.

    I am a leaf fan at heart and will always be its just a shame to see what is put out on the ice.

  2. In the offseason Roberto Luongo was on the trade block but obviously Ferguson doesnt have the knowladge to go and get him instead we acquire raycroft and paurrault.

    Mike Keenan targeted the Canucks because he specifically wanted Bryan Allen (who he drafted), Alex Auld (who he drafted), and Todd Bertuzzi (who he traded for).

    If we throw in a darcy tucker or someone with these prospects wouldnt the florida panthers trade luongo to us.


    Keenan is fiercely loyal to the players he likes, and there was nothing the Leafs could have offered him that would have satisfied this. Any Leaf fan that genuinely thinks Ferguson had a shot at landing Luongo isn't looking at the whole picture.

    Don't you dare blame Raycroft for that loss. His team hung him out to dry and you know it. Paul Maurice is known as a defensive-style coach, but the players weren't buying into the system at all. That third period was a complete train wreck of defensive lapses and errors.

    Do you honestly think if Pat Quinn were behind the bench this team would be in better shape?

  3. I agree that Ferguson should go, but sadly I don't think it's going to happen.

    I also wonder what the general perception of Maurice would be if he wasn't so good with the media. Is there a sports personality in this city who's better than Maurice in front of a scrum?

    I agree with temujin, there was no way the Leafs were landing for blaming Raycroft, wouldn't it be nice if the Leafs weren't out-goalied in just about every game? Miller stopped every breakaway that came his way, Raycroft did not. I also haven't seen many goals like Vanek's since Ricky Vaive was chasing 50 about 25 years back. On the other three, he didn't stand a chance...if you want to pass around blame, I'd start with the bench boss and question his line-up choices late in the game. I also think they should have called a time-out at 4-3 and yanked Razor at 4-4, just to slow the game back down...

  4. I also think they should have called a time-out at 4-3

    It never ceases to amaze me why coaches don't use their time-out earlier/more often. It used to boggle my mind as a Canuck fan when Crawford would call his T/O with 33 seconds left in the game. Why not 2 minutes?

    And like you said, why not call it when there is a shift in momentum? A T/O last night at 4-3 could have turned the tide back towards the Leafs. What was the worst that could happen by calling a timeout?

    I put the blame squarely on the player's shoulders, but maybe Maurice needs to be asked those tough questions.

  5. All good thoughts. Raycroft definitely gets more blame because of the perception that JFJ traded a young Patrick Roy for him when in fact he traded a goalie that had a great WJHC with a contending Finnish team in front of him and a terrible WJHC with a bad team in front of him.

    JFJ will someone survive. Cockroaches always do. A timeout at 4-3 would have been helpful if only to slow down momentum. he didn't even have to say anything, just make the Sabres wait to get the game going again.

    #3 is hilarious. You can't write anything about a dirty hit without hearing "what about Domi?" as if 5 years ago all Leaf fans were saying that it was a clean elbow to the head.

    #8 - to tell you the truth, I read that Bell would be lost and I never bothered to check it out.

    3-1 lead going into the third. Let's see how it plays out this time.